Body Scanner Would Not Have Stopped Christmas Day Bomber
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown seems to believe that high-tech body scanners will make us safer, but an expert on that technology warns that is not so.
The Independent on Sunday has also heard authoritative claims that officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) and the Home Office have already tested the scanners and were not persuaded that they would work comprehensively against terrorist threats to aviation.
Since the attack was foiled, body-scanners, using “millimetre-wave” technology and revealing a naked image of a passenger, have been touted as a solution to the problem of detecting explosive devices that are not picked up by traditional metal detectors – such as those containing liquids, chemicals or plastic explosive.
But Ben Wallace, the Conservative MP, who was formerly involved in a project by a leading British defence research firm to develop the scanners for airport use, said trials had shown that such low-density materials went undetected.
Tests by scientists in the team at Qinetiq, which Mr Wallace advised before he became an MP in 2005, showed the millimetre-wave scanners picked up shrapnel and heavy wax and metal, but plastic, chemicals and liquids were missed.
If a material is low density, such as powder, liquid or thin plastic – as well as the passenger’s clothing – the millimetre waves pass through and the object is not shown on screen.
Governments think they have to do something, and the more invasive the greater the security, but that is just not so. And the UK isn’t the only country jumping to react in this manner.
Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, where Abdulmutallab changed flights en route from Nigeria to Detroit, is to activate 17 scanners it bought two years ago for flights to the US, despite EU advice that there are privacy and human rights issues.Click here for reuse options!
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